Novo Nordisk A/S is hunting for deals to beef up its drug pipeline with new potential medicines in early stages of research for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
(Bloomberg) — Novo Nordisk A/S is hunting for deals to beef up its drug pipeline with new potential medicines in early stages of research for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
“You’ll see us making more deals,” Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president of development at Novo, said in an interview. The Danish drugmaker wants to offer patients more options tailored to their health conditions as well as invest “in technology that can facilitate our research and development efforts,” according to Lange.
Novo said Monday it would partner with US technology company Valo Health Inc. to use artificial intelligence to find new drugs in a deal that could be worth as much as $2.7 billion. Last month, the company agreed to buy Embark Biotech, which is working on appetite suppression, and Inversago Pharma, a Canadian maker of experimental obesity and diabetes treatments.
Novo has vaulted into the limelight thanks to a new generation of medicines that help people shed unwanted pounds by curbing their appetite. Demand for the blockbuster drug Wegovy for obesity and a related diabetes medicine has boosted Novo’s market value to about $417 billion — more than Denmark’s gross domestic product — and made it Europe’s most valuable company ahead of French luxury giant LVMH.
Lange pointed to an experimental medicine called CagriSema as an example of optionality for patients. The drug, which is in advanced clinical trials, has the potential to help patients shed as much as 25% of their body weight — “a substantial step up” from Wegovy.
Novo has struggled to keep up with demand for Wegovy and the related drug Ozempic, striking deals with manufacturers to bolster production. The supply constraints have left it unable to fully capitalize on its first-mover advantage before rival Eli Lilly & Co.’s Mounjaro hits the weight-loss market.
Novo shares rose as much as 2.7% in Copenhagen trading. The stock has gained almost 40% this year.
(Updates with company value in fourth paragraph)
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